Afghan refugees await treatment on September 8 inside Hangar 5 at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Olivier Douliery / Pool / AFP via Getty Images .
. Olivier Douliery / Pool / AFP via Getty Images
Olivier Douliery / Pool / AFP via Getty Images
Across the political spectrum, a large majority of Americans say they are in favor of welcoming Afghan allies to the United States, in part thanks to a surge of support from groups that are generally in favor of tighter restrictions on l ‘immigration.
More than seven in ten Americans support the resettlement of Afghans who have worked with the U.S. government or military, according to a new NPR / Ipsos poll. That number includes a strong majority of Republicans, as well as white and rural voters, who are less likely to support the admission of refugees and migrants from other parts of the world.
“We have an obligation to these [Aghan] people, to help them, to keep them safe, ”poll respondent Francesco Logreco, a Republican from St. Clair Shores, Mich., said in a follow-up interview.
Logreco says illegal immigration is a “massive problem”. And the 23-year-old has limited sympathy for Central American migrants fleeing cartels and corruption because the United States is not at war with those countries.
But Logreco says the Afghan nationals who opposed the Taliban are different.
“They love America. They fought for us. They were with us all the time. True allies of the West,” he said.
Most Americans See a “Duty” to Help
The poll was conducted between September 1 and 2, just days after the end of the US airlift from Kabul. He revealed that nearly three in four Americans, 73 percent of whom are Republicans, support the relocation of Afghans who have worked with the US government. Almost two-thirds of all respondents support the resettlement of Afghans who fear repression or persecution from the Taliban.
This is in stark contrast to past refugee crises, when Americans were more ambivalent about whether to open the nation’s doors to those fleeing civil war in Syria, or violence and persecution in Asia. Southeast after the Vietnam War. And it suggests that there is something exceptional about the plight of Afghan nationals that resonates with many Americans.
“There’s almost that ability to separate the duty to help those in Afghanistan who have helped our military separate that from what you think about immigration and welcoming migrants, period,” said Mallory Newall. , vice-president of Ipsos. “Welcoming Afghan refugees is good and it is something we should be doing. But welcoming those fleeing violence in other parts of the world, namely Syria and Libya, the African continent and the Central America is not a priority. “
Concerns about security screening and costs
But the poll also suggests that support for fleeing Afghan nationals has its limits.
“I have sympathy for the Afghans,” said Brian Barnes, a Republican from Greenwood, Indiana, in a follow-up interview. Barnes says he supports the relocation of those who have worked directly with US forces. “I think they should definitely be able to become US citizens and bring their families,” he said.
At the same time, Barnes, 63, says he’s not sure everyone who fled Afghanistan during the chaotic withdrawal of US forces should be allowed in.
US officials said they airlifted more than 123,000 people out of Kabul, although they admit that many Afghans who worked directly with US forces and applied for special immigrant visas were not among them.
Rather, officials in the Biden administration speak of the number of “Afghans at risk” who were evacuated. They say there are over 50,000 on military bases in the United States and around the world. Department of Homeland Security says these Afghans must pass a rigorous security check before they are allowed to relocate to the United States
“It’s just about me, you know, because they can say they’re vetted, but we don’t know,” Barnes said. “I just don’t trust this administration.”
This week, the Biden administration asked Congress for $ 6.4 billion to support the verification and resettlement of Afghans.
Of those polled who oppose the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States, nearly two-thirds agreed that “the United States cannot afford to support more refugees,” while more than half feared. that ISIS or Al Qaeda not use resettlement “as a means of sneaking into the United States”
The underlying attitudes towards immigration have not changed
Despite a bipartisan agreement on Afghan refugees, the poll shows that deep partisan divisions persist over immigration policy. For example, less than half of Republicans support the admission of migrants from Africa, Syria and Libya or Central America, compared to more than 70% of Democrats.
“Whenever we have had a situation where there were refugees from other countries who needed our help, I always thought we should open the doors,” said Schameka Earl, a Democratic voter from Charlotte, North Carolina, in a follow-up interview. “And that’s just because the United States of America is a land of immigrants. So how dare we turn down an immigrant who might need us?”
GOP voters are also more likely to support restrictions on the US-Mexico border.
More than 40% of Republicans have agreed that migrants crossing the southern border are “responsible for much of the spread of the coronavirus in the United States”, although doctors say infection rates among migrants are similar to those of anyone else in the area. A majority of Democrats disagreed that migrants are the driving force behind the spread of COVID.
As Congressional Democrats scramble to finalize legislation that could pave the way for citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, the poll found support for the policy has remained largely stable since our previous NPR / poll. Ipsos in the spring.
More than seven in ten Americans support creating a legal way for farm workers and other essential workers to become citizens. Large majorities also favor a path for “Dreamers” who were brought into the country illegally as children (62%), as well as for those with temporary legal status who fled countries plagued by crisis. war or natural disasters (67%).
The survey sampled 1,299 adults from the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii who were interviewed online in English. The survey has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for all respondents.
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